Meet Asheville’s Zach Tacy, an elite triathlete who recently completed the  Ironman Virginia 70.3 with a total time of 4:21:23. He PR’d by 10 minutes and was first in his age group, 8th overall, and qualified for the World Championships In Nice, France.

He also competed in the 70.3 World Championship in South Africa with a total time of 4:34:01 and placed 407th overall. He was 28th in his age group out of over 4,500 world athletes.

Challenge yourself: Join a local triathlon this summer

According to Google, an analysis of more than 67,000 finishers in 40 Half Ironman triathlons resulted in an average finish time of 6 hours.

Zach Tacy completed his in 4 hours. Well, 4:21:23 to be exact.

Take that, Google.

So what does this mean for Zach? It means he qualifies for the World Championships in Nice, France. Last year he qualified and competed in the World Championship Half Ironman South Africa, and he’s gearing up for a full Ironman in July.

And yeah. He’s 23 years old and a mechanical engineer major. #overachiever

So how did Zach first get a taste for triathlons? The Asheville Triathlon right here in Asheville, NC, an annual event owned by iDaph Events. Zach, who grew up in Asheville, says that out of all the triathlons he has participated in, the Asheville Triathlon was the most important.

“When I came through that finish line, there was such a welcoming feeling from the iDaph team and volunteers,” Zach says, recalling his two Asheville Tri’s. “I recommend it 100 percent. 200 percent!”

About the Asheville Triathlon

The Asheville Triathlon is considered a sprint course, so the distances are short enough for anyone who wants to participate in a triathlon for the first time. It’s also a great event for elite triathletes because they can PR. Zach, who participated twice in the Asheville Tri,  won’t be participating this year because he’ll be doing a full Ironman in Lake Placid, New York that month - but he plans on doing it again.

“It’s important to recognize your roots,” he says. “Asheville is where I grew up, and this tri is how I got into triathlons. I think it’s important for (elite triathletes) to recognize that and support the community that started it all.”

Zach feels that “anyone who has thought about doing a triathlon, should do this one.” The race begins with a 400 meter outdoor pool swim at the Asheville Rec Park pool, which is great for new swimmers. The run is an out and back style course and is flat and easy to navigate. The 12.4 mile bike course is a bit more challenging due to hills and steep grades, but there are several downhill sections that make up for it.

Training tips

The Asheville Triathlon is a sprint course, so there is not a lot of emphasis for doing long workouts. Zach recommends doing two workouts a week in each sport, and  to focus more on harder, shorter workouts. When it comes to practicing your swimming, be consistent. Make sure you’re able to get into a pool and swim on a regular basis.

Another important tip: Practice transition. The first time Zach jumped off his bike and started running, he was surprised at the feeling in his legs.

“Your legs feel really funny. That’s something I didn’t expect the first time I did a tri, so it’s definitely good to get experience with that.”

Zach recommends riding a bike for about 45 minutes to an hour, and then work on minimizing the time it takes to get off your bike and to start running.

“After your ride, set the bike off to the side at your house or at the track, and throw on your running shoes and start running. Go to a couple of miles, or do a 30-35 minute run. But the most important thing to work on is to minimize that time between the bike and run,” he says.

Just sign up and do it

If you’re even remotely thinking about trying a triathlon, sign up for the Asheville Triathlon.

“There’s so much support,” Zach says. “Everyone is out there trying to do their best and do their race….I love tri’s and I love the diversity of them. All it takes is one hour a day to train for the Asheville Tri, a few hours a week. If it’s just a thought in the back of your mind…I say go for it.”

Click here for more information about the Asheville Triathlon, and to register for this event which takes place Sunday, July 21st. 

Editor’s note: We will continue to blog about the Asheville Triathlon in the upcoming weeks, including tips from Zach on training for bike, swim and run. Stay tuned!


Training Schedule for Asheville Triathlon

Two swims per week

Two bikes per week

Two runs per week

Zach Tacy talks about why the Asheville Triathlon is the event to sign up for this year.

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